Obama: 'The Label of Socialism Doesn't Make Much Sense'

Melanie Arter | November 7, 2016 | 1:00pm EST
Font Size
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – In an interview with HBO’S “Real Time with Bill Maher,” President Barack Obama said Friday that “there’s no economy that doesn’t have some socialist elements” because there are some “common goods” that everyone agrees people should have.

“The label socialism doesn’t make that much sense in a context where there’s no economy that doesn’t have some socialist elements, meaning that there’s some common goods that we all agree everybody should have. That’s what Social Security is. That’s what Medicare is to some extent. That’s what public schools are,” Obama said.


“We all chip in to make sure that everybody - no matter the circumstances of your birth - have these baseline goods, and as you know I’ve felt pretty strongly that health care should be one of those goods,” the president said.

Host Bill Maher said if GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump loses, he hopes “the takeaway will be that socialism is not such a dirty word anymore” because of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“And I’m just wondering as someone who was accused of being a socialist before, what do you think about the idea that in America, yes, we’re capitalist, but some things should not be for the profit motive: health care, prisons, the military, elections, and I would add news gathering. People say get the money out of politics. I think you gotta get out of the news business first or we’re never gonna learn anything,” Maher said.

“I’ve also said in the past that if I were designing a system from scratch, I would have probably looked at a single payer system, but we do have legacy systems, and that’s the only thing that sometimes when I’ve had the conversations with Bernie, I’ve said to him that we don’t that we don’t start from scratch,” Obama said.

“You’ve got a $1 trillion health care industry for example, and you got a lot of people who are working for it and a lot of special interests involved, and so my goal in the Affordable Care Act was if I can get millions of more people insurance, then that’s my first goal, ‘cause for them, this is not an abstraction. It’s like I’m not gonna lose my home. Are my kids going to get coverage?” he said.

“And that’s what we’ve done, but I see it as a starter home, and then the question is how do we make sure everybody ultimately gets it, ‘cause there’s still gaps in coverage. I think the same is true when it comes to some other issues. To me, I think there is a pretty bright line around prisons. I agree with you that the criminal justice system should not be infected by the profit motive,” Obama added.

“This is the awesome power of the state, saying we can take somebody’s freedom away, we can lock ‘em up, because they’ve breached some part of the social contract. The notion that you wanna, you might incentivize people to lock more people in or keep them there longer or not provide the kind of rehabilitation services so that they can get out of there, I think that’s a problem, and so I’m very proud of some of the work that we’ve been trying to do along these lines. We’ve got more work to do,” the president said.

mrc merch